Welcome to my blog, the story of my continuing journey into the World of Zombie Wargames.

Monday, 29 February 2016

Factory Office/ Workshop (MDF 2)

I was very pleased to receive a gift from my wife (and courtesy of #1 son's input) of two models from Sarissa's Industrial range, namely the office building and large factory.
I was told  that the order had been placed on the Monday afternoon and was in my now hands by Friday evening, having been delivered in the morning to my wife's workplace (so the same great service as five year;s ago).
after a quick peruse of the contents of the two boxes it did sit in the 'to do' for a week or so.
However in the last week I have set about assembling the smaller of the two buildings - the Office/Workshop.
The first thing that struck me was the very useful 'instructions that came with the kit as I can't recollect anything similar in the first kit I'd bought all those years ago.
As it's a fairly small, simple model the sheet provided is merely a double side of A4, but nonetheless, a very useful addition.
I did think putting it together would  be a very swift exercise (save for the time it would take for the glue to set.
The next course of action would be to remove all the pieces from the packaging and  lay out everything in some semblance of order to familiarise myself with the thing and to dry fit the various bits together. I use a door panel from an old kitchen cupboard for this, as it heavy (won't easily move about) and very flat!
The bits all laid out.
Dry- fitting the stairs - what could possibly go wrong?
The pre-cut pieces were in the most part very easily removed from their supporting boards , but I did take extra care with the very small cut-out in the stair supports.
As I familiarised myself with the pieces I did notice that this was cut from 2mm MDF, my previous model had been 3mm - I guess it's a cost-cutting thing and similarly the inserts (for the windows), as these are now laser cut from card rather than MDF - another cost saving on MDF(and on postage too).
The other side of the 'instructions'.

This doesn't really deter from the model overall however and it does mean they're still very good value for money.
I do think though that they could have done a couple of things to easily improve the versatility of the model.
For example, the fact that the model has to built in the orientation given by which I mean I can't have the stairs on the other side of the building as the corner joints don't allow it and it could have been quite easy imo to do so.

Assembled stairs - can you spot the mistake ?

The other thing I really don't like about this model is the etched-on 'cracks', mainly because I think they look a little too twee for my tastes though I'm sure others will think otherwise.
On day two I was ready to start assembling the model using Evostick wood glue through.
 The stairs were a bit of pain to assemble but I got there in the end (more on that later) and the four walls were quickly glued together, fitting together tightly and securely.
Once assembled I used clamps to ensure the sides of the building  were at 90 degrees to one another and you can just about see  this in the two photographs below.
Showing (vaguely) how I used the clamps.

Note the clamps only keep the model 'square' whilst it dries
Bugger !

I was going to glue the stairs to the side of the building until I discovered that I'd assembled them wrongly! hen placed against the side of the building there would have been a bar across the door and a  gap on the other side neither of which would have passed health and safety!
The only course of action was to remedy the this by cutting the bar off one side and re0gkuing it to the other as my efforts to peek the entire side off immediately broke oneof the very thin side rails. I re-glued the side rails and held it in position with small clamps. Luckily, I suppose, the side rail that was inadvertently broken would be up against the building, giving it even more support.

So by day three (I only 'work' or paint about an hour each day btw), I had a a shell of a building and stairs to glue to the wall., which was a simple enugh task. I did note though that the hand-rails jutted out at the bottom about half an inch from the main building wall - another thing to be aware of when manipulating this model.
The stairs also had the very obvious slots and steps showing rather too well  for my liking, so a quick cover-over with some paper cut to zize made for  'cleaner' look, one that I was much happier with.
Looking at this very easy (and quick) renovation had me wondering if I could also 'improve' the look of the model in other areas too.

Lintels etc. being added.
 With that in mind, out came the coffee stirrers, mostly trimmed down to about half their width for door posts, lintels and sills and firmly glued and clamped into place (there was a little trimming afterwards  to do too.).
I did think that I would do something with the 'cracks' but would leave it until I came to painting it.
Because of the way the  model goes together only the front and rear of the building got this treatment, the side windows (three of which were obscured by the stairs), but the roof got a full 'parapet'.
'Parapet' clamped into position.

Next up was the ventilation thing that clamped
the side of the building (it only looks like it's leaning away from the builing in this fore-shortened view. It's a very basic being three pices sandwiched together and I knew from my previous experience it would be a pain to paint.
I wanted to things, firstly to hide the sandwich on the side facing outwards and secondly to hide the obvious sandwiched top. I cut a piece of card into four pieces and halved them (as can be seen) from a piece of card, that was glued  around the top, using the 'ledge' created by slicing the card  as support.
All ready for its undercoat.
Next up I used a pice of offcut (at least I hope it was an off-cut) that was a superb match to the length of this shaft, rounded the end to fit the curved base of the shaft and glued it into place.

Finally to finish the shaft top off I glued a piece of paper around it to hide the very rough joins and then another sliver of paper to form an edge around the top (hardly visible in the photograph)
And that's as far as I got this week with this build, next week I'll be looking at the internal part of the structure, another health and safety issue and the roof.

So that's it then for this week, I hope you're finding this journey into MDFat least a bit interesting.

Monday, 22 February 2016


Five years ago I had the intention of doing some 1920s gangster-esque type games (I still do btw) and looking around for inspiration I came across this building from the wonderful "Sarissa".
 It's a residential building sutiable for any time period from about 1900 onwards and ideal for the 1920s.
Obviously the building could also be used in my Zombie gaming too, so why hasn't it seen the light of day on the table I hear you ask.
Well, ny version of it looks like the photograph below (mostly because it is my version) and has done for several years now.

Unfinshed front view
Though it has been worked upon a little and is very near to completion, there are reasons why I've never actually got around to finishing it.
The building is obviousky meant as a split building with separate doors for the left and right sides, and is also reflected on the ground floor layout. Whilst the ground floor has wall pieces etc. there is little to no room for a staircase to the second floor (and the third floor too. which I bought as an extra). The upper floors also have no means of entry and I've been in several minds thinking about the internal layout since the purchase of this .

Rear view (not for those with OCD)
You're probably thinking that even whilst I was contemplating how to finish off the inside of the model I couldhave at least finished off the front!
Well, therein lies another thought-provoking 'problem' with this building.

BOring side view
Like all the buildings in the Sarissa Urban range it has an integral pavement (or sidewalk  if you prefer) as can be seen in the top photograph and very nice it is too, except for the fact that all my pavements are 50mm wide and his one is 40mm. So the problem is - Do I saw the pavement off or use it as is on a purpose build board?
  A secondary problem that needs a decision depends on whether or not I make use of the building as two premises or a single one and this will have a knock-on affect upon the entry way stairs (currently two staircases!).
I did do a little extra 'modelling as can be seen in the photograph below,  merely a rood hatch using coffee-strirrers (what else!) and a little sand to give the featureless, smooth roof a texture.

Roof hatch
So am I disappointed with this building ?
The answer is an emphatic "NO not at all", it fitted together very easily and is a superbly 'solid', warmes model. It was lightly sprayed with a grey £1 Poundlandworld spray and painted using both  acrylics and water-based clour-testers with no detectable warping on the model.
There is another feature that I'd like to mention too and that's the service I got from Sarissa, which was superb. I placed the order and recieved the well-packed parcel some four days later (I think that there's a good chance you'd wait longer for a home delivery from your nearest supermarket).
This, however, is not the end of my adventures in MDF, as in my next post I'll be showing my two latest MDF aquisitions.
This is a test
So that's it until next time, I hope you've found something of interest in the history of my first encounter with MDF.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Stairs (3)

Modelling Crap Scrap
No doubt you'll be thinking that a few photographs of a staircase glued into place would be the inevitable boring conclusion of this mini-build.
These were also my thoughts exactly, so I decided not just to glue it into place but  to give it a little more interesting detailing. The objective was two-fold  as it allows me both to show some of the crap scrap materials I use and how easy it is.
Though I may not use everything  in the photograph (to the right) I tend to try and have more bits and pieces than I'll probably need.
So, there's polystyrene (foam variety), a couple of cylinders, an oil drum, some tissue paper, printed signs and stuff and  some string. and some blackened coffee stirrers (yes I  am sad enough to have some of these  already done)

The rubbish base - foam and tissue
The objective was to model the underside of the staircase as a rubbish dump.
I broke the polystyrene foam into bits and tucked it into the holes created by the bracing on the stairs. (This was all done whilst the model lay on a flat surface ) . Next the foam was glued into place using pva, finally a layer of scraps of tissue were placed over the foam and then wetted with an old paintbrush, tucking it into corners etc. with the overall objective of just hiding the foam. The various crevices etc. would be filled with rubbish.
A very quick (and imprecise) coat of various dull paints (browns and green) gave the underlying base some colour and it didn't really matter if there were specks of white left.
The view from underneath
Next the rubbish was placed in (not completely randomly as everything that is placed has to be seen otherwise it's a bit pointless adding it ! Most everything went in randomly and sat on top of the base, though a few bits were strategically placed in crevices on underneath bits of the base where it overhang. I also had to make a few black-plastic rubbish sacks to add to the pile of rubbish. I may well have run out of these and may have to make a whole batch more.(The half a dozen I made took about 5 minutes.)
Photo showing the truest colouring of the model
 The next three pics show the whole thing in situ; the rubbish base also acting as a very strong support to the staircase being glued to the building. 

Another view but looking very dark
Close up view


The final photograph showing the staircase in context.
 I did have a thought that if I'd made the steps an additional 5mm deep (making them 15mm x 30mm) then a figure on a 20mm base would comfortable stand on it with the part of its base tucked underneath the step in front.
No doubt the more Poirot-like among you will have spotted the health and safety failing that the upper walkway hasn't got a safety railing - well that's already been spotted. I'm currently wondering how to fix one securely to a very thin piece of card (the floor).

Thanks for taking the time to view I hope this bit of rubbish was of interest.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Stairs (2)

Stairway side that will affix to the model.
After copious amounts of superglue and polystyrene cement I finally managed to get the staircase to the back of my 'street' finished and even though it still feels a little brittle and delicate, I reckon it is strong enough to withstand the rigours of wargaming.
Additional bracing shown by arrows.
To the original structure I added four extra pieces, giving some well needed bracing and stability to the model.
The pieces used were not fitted flush with the main structure, but were interwoven with it, using the holed in the mesh to key the bits used.
The protruding ends  were of course cut off .
Railings added.

Next step was cutting and fitting some sort of railing to the staircase.
I used a short piece of wire  mesh for this purpose, but had to cut the horizontal pieces to enable me to angle the railing for the stairs whilst keeping the vertical bits vertical (well almost vertical).

 A spray undercoat (Bargain Buys' 'Satin' car spray  - £1) gave a very good undercoat for the 'rusting' and "wear and tear" look I wanted and also gives yet another bonding effect on the whole build.
Painted and finished 

A quick wash of various typical  rust colours (yellow ochre, dark and 'redish' browns more or less gave the effect I was looking for as can be seen in the photograph at the top of the page and on the right, but may be returned to for 'touching up;/

And that's it the rear staircase to 'the Street' is completed and all that remains is to affix it to the actual model ,

That's it then for this week, thanks for taking an interest.

Monday, 1 February 2016


I managed to drum up enough enthusiasm this week to proceed a little further with my "Street" and
First set cut out
started on the back-stairs giving access to the upper floors.
This could have been a very simple job if I'd gone for solid concrete steps or had won the lottery and bought some of the wonderful MDF ones available from various manufacturers.
I however decided to make my own using the ever versatile plastic canvas. The problem I've a;ways had with this stuff is gluing it - either to itself or to just about anything else.
second set cut-out with added supports
This part of the build was no exception this regard as I used Loctite superglue  (Whose name begets a lie) and although it eventually did form some type of bond, I'm thinking of backing the result with thin card for stability.That is, of course, if I can get the card to stick to the damn stuff as the superglue only really did what it does best and that's to stick one's own fingers together!

How many steps ?
After the initial steps support was cut, I realised how flimsy the thing was so I cut the second with a vertical and horizontal support to make it a little more rigid. The first had also had to have its support and this of course came from the piece I'd already cut (doh!). This of course is yet another example of thinking a problem through thoroughly before cutting and gluing !  
The other bits were duly cut, ready for the final assemably (made even more awkward due to the nature of the material being used).
I added a cross piece to fit between the two step supports (and now of course realise two more wouldn't come amiss) and the final piece being the top landing.
The landing is sufficiently large enough to easily get a figure on it (and maybe two at a push) as its about 30mm x 35mm.
'Finished' stairs   (the blue was an aid memoir not to cut !)
The steps are about 35mm wide by about 10mm deep and although they would be more to scale (yet still overly large) at half those dimensions I felt that both the drop and size of each individual step didn't look too out of place, I'm not a big fan of the large 'building block' steps that I frequently see.used for the obvious reason that figures sit nicely on them.
No, mine are looking at steps, not using steps!

The landing was left loose to enable the final fitting to the building to be a little easier. There still
Different, but boring view
a little more to do on this before I can truly say it's finished (other than the obvious one of attaching it to the building).
I'll be re-gluing all the joins (again), adding two more crosspieces to act as braces, double undercoating (for extra strength-fingers crossed), adding a hand-rail (even though haven't completely figured out how I'll do this  yet)  and finally painting it a suitable metallic looking weathered and rusted effect.
Some or even all of the above may well have been finished this week and the reasons.excuses why they haven't  are explained on my other blog (ZabGladsWorld).

That's it for this week, as usual thanks for looking in.